Haiti And Haitian Creole

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Introduction The purpose of this essay is to explore the sociolinguistic factors and issues that have had impact on the status, function and use of Haitian Creole. Geography and history of Haiti and Haitian Creole The impact that the geography, history and economic situation in the country has had on the sociolinguistics of the country is of great importance, and as such it is unavoidable to include the history of Haiti, Haitian people, as well as Haitian Creole in this essay. Here it will be attempted to describe the implications that the history, political turmoil and economical situation have had on the use and status of Haitian Creole today. Haiti (capital city Port-Au-Prince) is situated on the western third of the Hispaniola island, with other two thirds belonging to Dominican Republic. It lies in between the Caribbean and the North Atlantic Ocean, with USA at the north of it and the South America at the south. Haiti, with around 10 million inhabitants, is today the poorest country in the Western hemisphere (Americas) and one of the poorest nations in the world (CIA, 2014; www.whichcountry.co). The Island of Hispaniola was discovered by Colombus in 1492 and it later became the major launching base for the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean, as well as the American mainland. The Spanish brought disease and slavery to the island and the indigenous Arawak people were destroyed, leaving almost no trace of their indigenous languages behind them. In the 17th century the French have started making small plantations on the island and after the Spanish gave up the western third of Hispaniola (what is now Haiti but then called Saint-Domingue) in 1697, French have started bringing in slaves from Africa in huge numbers (Haggerty, R.... ... middle of paper ... ...y these were the only social classes that existed in Haiti. The elite would occupy jobs in government, law, state and their children would attend schools run by Catholic Church, where favoured language was French. The poor had, and remain to have very limited opportunities for education as there simply were not enough schools, with virtually none in rural areas. However, a brief occupation of Haiti by the USA and a very rapid rate of urbanization in Haiti in the last few decades (with some 40 percent of Haitians living in urban areas in 2003, a 15% increase from 1982 (World Bank, 2006)) meant that social class has seen rise to the middle class, people who would come to work in cities but not as labour, and urban lower classes. Today, middle class people have relatively good income, their children receive education and they tend to be fluent in French. Furthermore

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